So, a bit of background. I got my CNA certification back in November and in January got a job at the nursing home I did my clinicals at. I felt like working as a CNA was my dream and something I've always wanted to do; I love the elderly and wanted to take care of them for a living. Also, I took care of my dad when he was dying back in 2011 and that further cemented the decision for me. However, I found myself becoming disillusioned with the nursing home environment. Now, I loved the residents, and taking care of them, and the hard work. What I didn't like were the hostile and rude co-workers, the extremely heavy workload and the unreasonable staffing ratios some nights. As an inexperienced, brand new CNA fresh out of school, I was constantly struggling to keep up with the workload and always felt guilty that I wasn't able to provide my residents the care I felt they deserved. It didn't help that instead of being supportive, most of my co-workers were rude and hated me for being new and slow; it even got to the point where one of them was calling me up on my phone, harassing me and threatening me over something I didn't even do.
I had initially quit, but the DoN asked me to come back. Well, I couldn't go back to my original hours cause I'd already gone back to my previous job working in fast food, so I agreed to go back as PRN. However, I wasn't called for a whole month and assumed I was more or less laid off. I found that I really missed working as a CNA and taking care of the old people. I didn't want to give up on a dream because of one bad experience. I thought about applying to more nursing homes, but based on research I'd done it seems the problems I encountered are almost universal in that environment. I really wanted to do home health and thought it might be a better fit for me, but seeing as how I don't have my own car and won't be able to afford one for a while, didn't think it was a feasible option. Then, after a bit of searching I found an unusual place right by my house.
It's an assisted living "house" (literally -- a house smack dab in the middle of the suburbs) that serves up to six residents and currently has two. It was made as an alternative to the typical long-term care facility and is a lot nicer, I think. I applied to work there and was pretty much hired on the spot. I love, love, LOVE it so far. It's everything I loved about the nursing home -- taking care of the elderly -- without all the stress. I finally feel like I have all the time to give my residents the care they deserve -- I can even sit down and paint their nails, watch TV with them, do activities. I can get to know them and their family members. Unlike the nursing home, I can work at my own pace and am not feeling constantly rushed or pressured to be 50 places at once. It really seems that to succeed in the LTC environment, you have to be able to work at breakneck speed -- not always an easy feat when it comes to taking care of vulnerable people. I already love the ladies I care for and am attached to them. I really hope this job continues to work out because I could see myself doing it for quite some time.
The residents I care for suffer from dementia/Alzheimer's and I tell you, it's been quite the experience learning to care for them! This population can be a difficult bunch but I find it somehow rewarding to care for them. I like getting into their headspace and trying to understand where they're coming from, their frustration. These are people too, just like us, that worked hard their whole lives and are now unable to do anything for themselves. When they hit me, I just remind myself it's not their fault, it's the disease, and that could easily be me years from now.